Bellator is hoping to book AJ McKee’s father Antonio on the same Sept. 28 card his son is fighting on at The Forum in LA, as first reported by the Long Beach Press-Telegram. Antonio McKee is 49 years old and has not fought in five years. He still needs medical clearance from the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) before he can be officially booked at Bellator 228. If it goes down, it is believed that it’ll be the first time a father and son have fought on the same MMA card in the United States.
BURBANK, Calif – Less than one month after he lost the Bellator middleweight title to Rafael Lovato Jr., Gegard Mousasi is already rebooked.
At a Bellator 228 media day held Wednesday, Mousasi (45-7-2 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) told MMA Junkie he had no reason not to come back on short notice to face Lyoto Machida.
“They gave me money,” Mousasi said. “They said ‘come fight.’ It’s not rocket science. I’m a fighter. If they’re paying me, I fight. (Lyoto) Machida is a big name anyways. I’m going to face him now or later. Lovato is injured. That’s what I’ve heard, so we’re just going to move on,”
Because he walked away from the five-round bout relatively unscathed, Mousasi wanted to get back on track as soon as possible. His palate is still dirty with the taste of his recent loss, and he made it clear Wednesday he wants to begin the ascent back into a championship fight.
“It still hurts, but I’m healthy,” Mousasi said. “I’m not injured. When you’re injured, you’re out for eight months or nine months sometimes. Now, I can come back and set everything right in three months, get a title shot again. It hurts, but nothing to do but to look at what we did wrong and come back.”
Shortly after the loss, Mousasi accused Lovato of doping. Mousasi did not back down from his comments but did say much of his vintage post-loss trash talk is from being a sore loser.
“I’ve done always comments about losing to certain opponents,” Mousasi said. “I cry a little bit always. I’m a crybaby sometimes. Like Uriah Hall, I said ‘lucky.’ It was not lucky, but it got me the rematch. Machida, I said he cheated. I felt like he did. You can be honest about certain people. It is what it is. Machida, I lost because he was better. I’m a realistic guy. Lovato, I said it before. I don’t think I need to repeat it. People say I’m a bad loser. Whatever.”
Mousasi added, “You need to be a bad loser. Listen, if you lose a fight, you always try to blame on certain things. I get it. I’m not an idiot. I blame the loss (on) me because I (expletive) up. There are other certain things that I’m like, ‘Okay. What did go wrong about Lovato’s side?’ It is what it is. I’m not going to repeat it, but everyone knows what I said before.”
On Sept. 28, Mousasi will take on Lyoto Machida in the middleweight co-main event of Bellator 228 at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. The bout with Machida (26-8 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) will be a rematch of their Feb. 2014 clash at UFC Fight Night 36.
“He was a lot better than me, but I learned,” Mousasi said. “Sometimes with me, when I’m mentally there, I put flawless victories like ‘Mortal Kombat.’ I look really good. I look unbeatable. Like Rory (MacDonald), (Rafael) Carvalho, I beat them easy. We won Round 1 in a couple minutes. Machida, had a difficult fight with him.
“I know when I’m not in it, I (expletive) it up. This fight I’m in it. We’re going to go, and we’re going to fight him. We’re going to leave it all out there. If he’s better, he wins. I’m not going to cry about it. I’m going to go out and give it all.”
For more from Mousasi, watch the video above.
Bellator president Scott Coker appears to be taking things slow with Aaron Pico.
While Pico has been hailed as one of the greatest prospects in MMA, he was thrown to the wolves rather quickly. At the age of 22, Pico has a record of 4-3 and he’s been stopped in all of his losses. In his last two outings, Pico was brutally knocked out by Henry Corrales and Adam Borics.
Coker recently announced the participants for the Bellator featherweight grand prix. Pico’s name was absent.
During a media day session, the Bellator boss explained why Aaron Pico has been excluded from the tournament (via MMAJunkie.com).
“With Aaron, we’re going to meet with his manager either this weekend or next week,” Coker said. “I always felt like after his last fight in New York, let’s take a beat back. He’s a great kid. We have a lot of respect for him. We think he’s going to still come back and be great, but I think it’s time to take a beat. Let him train and let him get through this process. He would be fighting as early as Sept. 7 in eight weeks coming off that fight in New York. I think he’ll be back, it’s just a matter of time.”
It’s important to note that there is still an outside chance that Pico makes his way into the grand prix. During an appearance on ESPN’s Ariel Helwani MMA Show, Coker said that Pico could wind up in an alternate spot.
Do you think leaving Aaron Pico off the Bellator featherweight grand prix was the right call?
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Earlier this week, the Bellator featherweight grand prix field was finally revealed. One big-name omission was Aaron Pico.
After he devastated four straight foes, Pico (4-3 MMA, 4-3 BMMA) lost two straight fights via brutal knockout. The 22-year-old Californian was hit with a brutal, fight-ending flying knee from Adam Borics, which came on the heels of a January knockout loss to Henry Corrales.
At a media day Wednesday in Burbank, Calif., Bellator president Scott Coker emphasized that he still believes in Pico but acknowledged it’s time for him take a step back.
“With Aaron, we’re going to meet with his manager either this weekend or next week, Coker said. “I always felt like after his last fight in New York, let’s take a beat back. He’s a great kid. We have a lot of respect for him.”
Despite the manner in which Pico’s last two fights went, Coker said he still thinks Pico has a bright future. The turnaround would have been much too soon for Pico, in the eyes of the Bellator president.
“We think he’s going to still come back and be great, but I think it’s time to take a beat,” Coker said. “Let him train and let him get through this process. He would be fighting as early as Sept. 7 in eight weeks coming off that fight in New York. I think he’ll be back, it’s just a matter of time.”
The Bellator featherweight grand prix kicks off Sept. 7 at Bellator 226 with four 145-pound tournament matchups. Sam Sicilia vs. Pedro Carvalho, Daniel Straus vs. Derek Campos, Pat Curran vs. Adam Borics, and Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Tywan Claxton are all scheduled for the event in San Jose.
Four more featherweight tournament matchups are also slated for Bellator 228 on Sept. 28 in Inglewood, headlined by a title fight between champion Patricio Freire and Juan Archuleta. Also, A.J. McKee will take on Georgi Karakhanyan, and Darrion Caldwell will face off against Henry Corrales. Also on the card, Daniel Weichel battles Saul Rogers.
For more on upcoming Bellator events, check out the MMA schedule.
BURBANK, Calif. – A.J. McKee has been chirping at Bellator dual champion Patricio Freire for a while now.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that, when the mercurial “Pitbull” nearly got into it with Darrion Caldwell at Wednesday’s Bellator media day, McKee (14-0 MMA, 14-0 BMMA) couldn’t resist inserting himself into the situation.
Freire defends his 145-pound title against Juan Archuleta in the main event of Bellator 228 on Sept. 28, which also serves as a first-round bout in the featherweight grand prix. McKee, meanwhile, will fight Georgi Karakhanyan in the tournament that same night. Caldwell faces Henry Corrales. The latter two are also tourney bouts.
But McKee believes he should be getting the crack at Freire’s belt, not Archuleta. And when the argument between “Pitbull” and Caldwell broke out during McKee’s interview with MMA Junkie, he felt the need to speak his peace to the champion.
“Can I have my belt? I want my belt,” McKee yelled over at Freire. “You fighting ’35 pounders, stop acting like you want to fight me. You fighting ’35 pounders. You don’t want no smoke. Wassup?
“Just don’t lose in the tournament because I’m coming for that ’55-pound belt next. I’m coming for them all, all of them. Bellator can’t protect you forever.”
The overall temperature in the room cooled from there, but McKee was still fired up afterward. McKee’s 14 wins are a Bellator record, and his last victory was a one-sided affair vs. former featherweight champ Pat Curran.
So while McKee is glad to be a part of the tournament, he’s irked that Archuelta, a bantamweight, is getting the opportunity to jump up a division and cut the line for a title shot.
“I was a little mad at Bellator, because I fought everyone, and a ’35 pounder gets my title shot before I do? Slap in my face,” McKee said. “But at the same time it’s like, ‘Hey, you got a job to do.’ They’ve watched me 14 fights build my whole career, my whole life, and now they know I’m ready, so I kind of guess it’s a revenge for them. I slapped them in the face when I was doing my stuff when I was a kid and wild and acting crazy, and they’re saying now you gotta go fight, but I’m not worrying about it. That’s jet fuel for the fire.”
And while McKee is clearly going to take every opportunity to goad “Pitbull” into a title fight, he insists this remains all business.
“It’s not personal. I just want my belt,” McKee said. “You’re fighting 135 pounders, dawg. What you doing? What are you doing? There’s a million dollars in it. My weight class. This is not a 135er’s world. This is A.J.’s world. You’re going to be welcome to it. I’m telling you, after the first couple fights, they’re going to be like, ‘This is a different A.J. He’s aggressive, he’s mean, and he’s calm, and he’s patient, and he’s hurting people.’ I’ve been hurting people and been, like, leaving room for error. I’m not letting anyone in. No one is going to get close to me.”
To see McKee’s reaction to the Freire-Archuleta incident, watch the video above. For MMA Junkie’s full interview with McKee, watch the video below.
The first fight led to a fella jumping in my inbox to refer to Douglas Limas as everything under the sun and then some so lord knows what the sequel is going to do.
The end is in sight for the Bellator welterweight grand prix.
At a media day held Wednesday in Burbank, Calif., Coker told reporters, including MMA Junkie, that the bout will be happening in late October at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn. No specific date was given.
“Rory was a little bit injured,” Coker said. “He needed another 30 days of rest, which we gave him. So, he’s ready to go. That fight will happen at the end of October. Him and Lima will get it on up in the Mohegan Sun.”
Bellator’s original plan was to have MacDonald (21-5-1 MMA, 3-1-1 BMMA) and Lima (31-7 MMA, 13-3 BMMA) square off in September. However, following his victory over Neiman Gracie in the Bellator 222 headliner in June, MacDonald made it clear he would need more time.
The upcoming MacDonald-Lima fight will be a rematch of their Bellator 192 bout, which took place in January 2018. It was MacDonald who got the best of their first meeting, as he defeated the Brazilian via unanimous decision to claim the title.
Both men had to advance past back-to-back opponents to earn a shot at the $1 million prize in the 170-pound grand prix final. In the opening round, MacDonald drew with Jon Fitch and retained his title and automatically advanced to the next round. In his first tournament bout, Lima defeated Andrey Koreshkov for the second time when he choked out the former champ in the fifth round.
While MacDonald defeated Gracie in his second outing, Lima knocked out previously unbeaten Michael Page in highlight-reel fashion.
For more on upcoming Bellator events, check out the MMA schedule.